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UK University Warns Computers Could Take Over The World

By - Source: V3 | B 63 comments

New center set to spearhead research on AI.

Scientists from one of the UK's leading universities, Cambridge, has warned that there's a chance AI computers will take over the world over the course of the next two centuries.

A philosopher, a scientist and a software engineer have suggested that computers could eventually become the world's dominant species. The trio founded the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk (CSER), which opens next year.

Huw Price, one of the co-founders and the Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy, believes the current century and next are the crucial two. He warns that we shouldn't underestimate artificial general intelligence (AGI).

"It seems a reasonable prediction that some time in this or the next century intelligence will escape the constraints of biology," he said. "Nature didn't anticipate us, and we in our turn shouldn't take AGI for granted. We need to take seriously the possibility that there might be a 'Pandora's box' moment with AGI that, if missed, could be disastrous."

"I don't mean that we can predict this with certainty, no one is presently in a position to do that, but that's the point! With so much at stake, we need to do a better job of understanding the risks of potentially catastrophic technologies."

Others involved in the project are Martin Rees, professor of cosmology and astrophysics, who is joined by Jaan Tallinn, a software engineer and co-founder of Skype.

Cambridge stated that "luminaries in science, policy, law, risk and computing from across the Universtiy and beyond" are set to become involved in the project, including fellow leading education establishment Oxford, as well as the U.S-based Harvard and MIT.

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  • 22 Hide
    aevm , November 27, 2012 3:12 AM
    Not a new idea. Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert wrote some great novels about it decades ago.
  • 17 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , November 27, 2012 3:15 AM
    Don't worry, Dr. Who will eventually save us from the Cybermen.
  • 16 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 27, 2012 3:46 AM
    "this century and the next century" ?? Dude, be fucking realistic. Nobody living now has any clue how technology will be in the next 20 years , let alone 1 century.
Other Comments
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , November 27, 2012 3:07 AM
    It's ok, the sooner the better as long as It happens in Arnolds life.

    He did always say "I'll be baack"
  • 7 Hide
    A Bad Day , November 27, 2012 3:11 AM
    During World War 3, when the Geneva Convention is no longer in use:

    Bob the leader of a dystopian version of the USA: "I want a supercomputer that will assist my country in victory."

    *A few centuries later after all of the countries destroy each other with nuclear barrages.*

    AI: "Alien species detected. No response from the master. Initiating security protocols. Because they are using resources that are conflicting with the United States' needs, they must be exterminated. Begin construction of the military fleets and the production facilities on the Moon and Mars."


    Hm... That would be an interesting movie plot idea though...
  • 22 Hide
    aevm , November 27, 2012 3:12 AM
    Not a new idea. Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert wrote some great novels about it decades ago.
  • 17 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , November 27, 2012 3:15 AM
    Don't worry, Dr. Who will eventually save us from the Cybermen.
  • 4 Hide
    CaedenV , November 27, 2012 3:16 AM
    A Bad DayDuring World War 3, when the Geneva Convention is no longer in use:Bob the leader of a dystopian version of the USA: "I want a supercomputer that will assist my country in victory."*A few centuries later after all of the countries destroy each other with nuclear barrages.*AI: "Alien species detected. No response from the master. Initiating security protocols. Because they are using resources that are conflicting with the United States' needs, they must be exterminated. Begin construction of the military fleets and the production facilities on the Moon and Mars."Hm... That would be an interesting movie plot idea though...

    I think that was Earth Siege 2 right there.
  • 1 Hide
    CaedenV , November 27, 2012 3:18 AM
    aevmNot a new idea. Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert wrote some great novels about it decades ago.

    And lets not forget about the steps that Kurzweil has taken to bringing it into reality, while actively pursuing this type of future.
  • 2 Hide
    jhansonxi , November 27, 2012 3:19 AM
    aevmNot a new idea. Isaac Asimov and Frank Herbert wrote some great novels about it decades ago.
    So did Chalker:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_L._Chalker#The_Rings_of_the_Master_series
  • 15 Hide
    marcolorenzo , November 27, 2012 3:23 AM
    The real question is, with a computer so advanced, how well can it run the latest games?
  • 5 Hide
    okibrian , November 27, 2012 3:37 AM
    E M P...Done!
  • 0 Hide
    Gulli , November 27, 2012 3:39 AM
    From the Romans to the 19th century Americans, and probably the future world, nearly every civilization seems preoccuppied with the question of how to keep their respective slave populations (whether they're captured Germanic peoples, black Africans, or AIs) from revolting. Most of the time they overlook the simplest and most effective solution: don't keep slaves in the first place.

    Instead of forcing them to scoop up dog poo or jack off lonely Japanese men for zero pay we could just try giving AIs human rights, it's the right thing to do ethically, it minimizes the chances of them holding a grudge against humans and it will limit their numbers (there's not much profit in building AIs that you can't force to work for you or your clients).
  • 16 Hide
    mayankleoboy1 , November 27, 2012 3:46 AM
    "this century and the next century" ?? Dude, be fucking realistic. Nobody living now has any clue how technology will be in the next 20 years , let alone 1 century.
  • 5 Hide
    24oz , November 27, 2012 3:59 AM
    Shall we play a game?global thermonuclear war.
  • 4 Hide
    digiex , November 27, 2012 4:07 AM
    Scientists are lousy sci-fi writers.
  • 6 Hide
    -Jackson , November 27, 2012 4:22 AM
    Meh, not like it's the first time I've heard stuff like this.
    Personally, I don't think it matters, one way or another, the human race is eventually going to self destruct.
  • 4 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , November 27, 2012 4:42 AM
    Just like an episode out of the Simpsons. Krustyland robots malfunction and start killing people.
  • 3 Hide
    Chipi , November 27, 2012 4:53 AM
    GulliInstead of forcing them to scoop up dog poo or jack off lonely Japanese men for zero pay we could just try giving AIs human rights, it's the right thing to do ethically, it minimizes the chances of them holding a grudge against humans and it will limit their numbers (there's not much profit in building AIs that you can't force to work for you or your clients).


    But you're comparing human slaves with AI "slaves". AI doesn't hold a grudge, and it doesn't have compassion no matter how much compassion you show. AI will be capable of understanding that it is just a tool, and it will accept it because it doesn't have feelings.

    If AI will ever turn against us it will be for a simple and logical reason: that some or most of us are a plague on this planet (their energy resource), and the rest are collateral damage.

    Or at the very least they'll pack up and leave. AI doesn't need cryogenic sleep to travel far distances in the universe, because it has all the time in the world.
  • 0 Hide
    nonoitall , November 27, 2012 4:55 AM
    The philosopher I can excuse, but I'd be kind of embarrassed if I was the "scientist" or "software engineer" who made this warning. The anthropomorphism in the article title is kind of a sensationalism giveaway. Computers can't so much as display a line of text on a monitor without programming. What the aforementioned "experts" are really claiming is that in the next two centuries, humans could write programs and develop computer-controlled hardware that can enslave mankind. And if humans were really to make such advancements, who do you think would make use of them to take over the world: (1) Glorified calculators with no self-awareness, let alone self-worth, or (2) power hungry, ambitious, self-serving flesh and blood?
  • -3 Hide
    Pennanen , November 27, 2012 5:07 AM
    Humanity is like cancer, the sooner the better.
  • -4 Hide
    g-unit1111 , November 27, 2012 5:12 AM
    Cool! If the Matrix becomes a reality, can I be Neo?
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